U of I plans complete law school in Boise by 2017

The University of Idaho’s longtime dream of offering a complete law school in Boise could become a reality by 2017.

School officials announced Thursday that they plan to add a first-year law program in Boise to the second and third year classes already offered. Adding the first year will make laws degree available both in Boise and at the U of I’s main campus in Moscow.

The university’s plan still needs approval from the State Board of Education and the American Bar Association, which accredits law schools, said Lee Dillion, associate dean for the College of Law Boise campus.

The college’s Boise campus has about 105 students and its Moscow campus about 250.

Classes would be held at the old Ada County Courthouse. Now called the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center, the courthouse also houses the Idaho State Law Library.

“It’s important to give our students a choice,” said Mark L. Adams, the law school dean, in a news release. “With its dual-campus model, students will have more opportunities than a traditional law school offers.”

The U of I first sought to create a Boise-based law school in 2008. The State Board of Education trimmed the initial proposal to just the third year. The third-year program opened in fall 2010. A second year was added in 2014.

Meanwhile, Concordia University School of Law is about to start its fourth year. The school opened in 2012 in Downtown Boise and achieved provisional accreditation from the ABA last spring, shortly before its first round of students graduated. Securing provisional accreditation means those graduates can take the Idaho State Bar exam. Concordi’s law school has about 100 students.